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Every Hour Is Happy Hour In Moutai, China's 'New Town of National Liquor'

Move over, South Beach. Fugeddaboutit, Cannes. The world capitol of partying hearty has found a new home in Moutai, China's “New Town of National Liquor”! Actually it's not the drunk & drunker crowd who are setting up house & home in the town where every hour is Happy Hour – nor are its new residents doing so by choice.

It all has to do with Moutai, China's national drink with a sparkling history that goes back 800 years. Moutai is a spirit distilled from fermented sorghum that is available in a range of proofs.

It has always been thought that the unique climate of the town of Moutai, located in Guizhou province in southwestern China, gave Moutai the drink its exceptionally smooth taste and scent. As the town's population grew and nearby rivers used by the main brewery Kweichow Moutai became polluted, concern rose that China's national drink would lose both its flavor and its reputation.

A solution was found that addresses the pollution problem and the interests of the people of the town of Moutai. Almost 400 small independent distilleries will be closed and up to 16,000 people will be relocated to the “New Town of National Liquor” some distance away.

The costs of the move are being underwritten by China Kweichow Moutai Distillery Co. and the Guizhou provincial government which has already spent more than 3 billion yuan ($450 million) to protect the Chishui River from which the brewery draws its water.

What will life be like for those who've made the move to China's New Town of National Liquor? Will driving become more risky than usual? Will Chinese university students flood the town on the country's version of Spring Break?

And of course, won't someone think about the children before the whole social experiment ends up, er, on the rocks? (via Xinhuanet, China Daily and China Today)

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Steve Levenstein